In the chase to get electric vans for auction on the UK market, the Volkswagen Abt e-Transporter T6.1 was a bit of a backward arrival. It’s not the aboriginal electric van from the company, because the VW e-Crafter was already offered in Europe. However, there are currently no affairs to accompany this beyond archetypal to the UK, and with the abate VW Caddy actuality replaced by the Caddy 5, that agency the electric Abt e-Caddy won’t appear here, either. In fact, the Abt e-Transporter is a bit of a acting accession to VW’s ranks here, because it meets concise appeal for an electric VW van advanced of the barrage of the all-new ID.Buzz Cargo, which is due in 2022.
So what’s the VW Abt e-Transporter T6.1 all about? Well, the Transporter T6.1 allotment of its name agency it’s based on the best contempo adaptation of VW’s mid-sized van (the Mk6), which accustomed revised looks and tech from the VW commuter car ambit in 2019 (the 6.1). The e- prefix is self-explanatory, while the Abt allotment of the name refers to VW’s electric agent partner. Abt is a German aggregation acclaimed for alms aftermarket auto and bodykits for Audis, SEATs and added VW Group models, and for alive Audi’s access in the Formula E electric single-seater series. But it additionally has an EV department, which is amenable for architecture the e-Transporter and above Europe-only e-Caddy.
Abt takes engine-less Transporter T6.1s from VW’s assembly band in Hanover and fits them with the electric alive gear, which comprises a 108bhp electric motor and a 37.3kWh battery. This is a development of the arrangement that was offered in the e-Golf, but that does beggarly it’s tech that’s hardly abaft the ambit aback compared with rivals. As a result, the e-Transporter has a alive ambit of up to 82 miles, which isn’t as continued as some battling electric vans.
Charging is handled via Type 2 and CCS charging ports which are amid breadth the agent ammunition accompaniment is on the agent Transporter. AC and DC charging is available, with a best accustomed of 50kW DC accepted. Plug into an adapted source, and an 80 per cent allegation from collapsed can booty about 45 minutes, while charging from a 7.2kW wallbox sees the array absolutely answerable in about bristles and a bisected hours.
The electric motor is affiliated to a adapted adaptation of the DSG twin-clutch gearbox that’s accessible with the Transporter diesel, and it sends ability to the advanced wheels. Thanks to the blueprint of the e-Transporter’s electric drivetrain, burden aggregate is the aforementioned as you’ll acquisition in the agent version, and in the long-wheelbase animate van body, there’s 6.7 cubic metres of amplitude on offer. The alone added anatomy advantage is the bristles or six-seat e-Transporter Kombi, which is based on the aforementioned long-wheelbase platform.
Prices for the Abt e-Transporter alpha from about £42,000, which is added than you’ll pay for the Vauxhall Vivaro-e, which has a far best alive range. But the e-Transporter is a chic van with a appropriate autogenous and blueprint account that’s aesthetic to drive.
As with any electric vehicle, the VW Abt e-Transporter T6.1 has a almost aerial antecedent acquirement price, but accustomed alive costs will be basal because charging the array is far cheaper than bushing with diesel. You’re attractive at a starting amount of about £42,000 for the continued wheelbase animate van (the alone breadth available), while activity for Advance trim adds about £3,500 to the price. Go for the e-Transporter Kombi, and you can add accession £4,400, so the top-spec Kombi Advance is in the arena of £50,000.
The accumulation are fabricated on circadian costs, with aught alley tax, bargain recharging costs, lower application bills and absolution from low discharge breadth accuse allowance to abate the absolute amount of buying over the activity of the van.
At barrage the e-Transporter was accessible with a 3-for-2 application action costing £399, which covered the van’s aboriginal three services, aboriginal MoT added pollen clarify and anchor aqueous replacement. Service intervals are anniversary or every 24,900 afar (whichever comes first) with an continued analysis at 36 months/74,500 miles. After that, the continued analysis takes abode every two years.
VW quotes a WLTP ambit of 82 afar for the e-Transporter, while our time with the van appear that this is the array of ambit you can apprehend from a abounding charge. However, as with all EVs, if you absorb added time alive at college speeds, you’ll see the ambit drop, although a dispatch limiter that restricts the van to 56mph is adapted as accepted to advice advance array range.
That 82-mile ambit is acceptable to be abundant for a day’s work, but battling electric vans can go alike added on a charge. The Mercedes eVito has a quoted ambit of 95 miles, while the Vauxhall Vivaro-e (as able-bodied as its Citroen e-Dispatch and Peugeot e-Partner siblings) has a best quoted ambit of 205 afar – these three are cheaper to buy in the aboriginal place, alike if you go for the big 75kWh array variant. Like the e-Transporter, we’ve begin that these vans all bear real-world ambit that is agnate to the WLTP-quoted figures.
Retrofitting the Transporter T6 with an electric drivetrain hasn’t afflicted its burden volume. There’s 6.7 cubic metres of space, the aforementioned as you’ll get in the agent long-wheelbase van. It’s a abashment that there’s aloof one animate van variant, but seeing as the e-Transporter is based on the best van, it should accommodated best needs. The Transporter Kombi has the aforementioned best volume, because the aback seats can be removed and there’s no bulkhead abaft them. However, the distinct bank is big and heavy, added you’ll charge about to abundance it aback you booty it out, while the rear bottle agency that any items larboard in the van will be arresting to passers by.
The animate van appearance a animate bulkhead abaft the cab, and as accepted there’s a distinct sliding ancillary aperture and accompanying doors at the back. VW offers a top-hinged rear tailgate as a no-cost option, while a added sliding ancillary aperture can be added at added cost, as can ability assisted opening. Go for the Kombi, and afresh there’s a distinct sliding ancillary door, this time with a window, while a added breadth of bottle is added on the adverse side. At the back, the Kombi has a tailgate as accepted with a acrimonious window and wash/wipe.
One breadth breadth the e-Transporter comes up hardly abbreviate is with burden weights. None of the electric models can backpack added than a tonne in payload, while all versions of the 3.2-tonne agent Transporter can backpack added than a tonne. However, electric vans are generally advised to baby for last-mile commitment services, breadth burden aggregate takes antecedence over best weight.
There are a lot of accurate genitalia that accomplish up the VW Abt e-Transporter. The basal anatomy and abeyance are the aforementioned as those alien aback the T6 accustomed in 2016, while the T6.1 facelift in 2019 brought with it electrical systems from the Golf Mk7, so all of these are abiding to be reliable.
As for the electrical alive gear, the 108bhp electric motor is the aforementioned as the one begin in the VW e-Golf, and it’s affiliated to a adapted adaptation of VW’s DSG twin-clutch gearbox that’s been tailored by Abt for use with the electric motor. The array is additionally taken from the e-Golf, although development agency accommodation has risen hardly to 37.3kWh, from the e-Golf’s 35.8kWh. While the accommodation is bisected that of a top-spec Vauxhall Vivaro-e, it should prove reliable, while VW covers it with an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty. If array accommodation avalanche beneath 70% during this time or a accountability develops, again the accomplished backpack can be replaced. In addition, the blow of the van is covered by VW’s accepted bartering agent assurance of 3 years/100,000 miles.
One breadth breadth the e-Transporter excels is with alive and acquiescent safety. Both versions affection Advanced Abetment with City Emergency Braking, which uses sensors to acclimatize braking armament agnate to the situation. City Emergency Braking activates the brakes automatically if the sensors ascertain an obstacle at speeds beneath 18mph.
Also included is Council Recommendation, which offers council abetment if sensors ascertain that the van is activity out of control, while post-collision braking and cantankerous wind abetment additionally feature. A Driver Alert system, adherence control, rear parking sensors and an automated complete architect (which emits a complete at low speeds) are all included.
On the road, the Abt e-Transporter feels abundantly the aforementioned as the agent Transporter, admitting quieter and added refined. At burghal speeds it’s chiefly quiet, with alone a aside hum from the electric motor, while tyre babble is the capital antecedent of aggregate at college speeds.
Acceleration is active off the line, because while 108bhp is modest, there’s 200Nm of torque accessible from aught revs. It anon cape off, though, because alone 75% of that 108bhp achievement is accessible beneath accustomed dispatch – you accept to columnist the pedal harder into ‘kickdown’ for the missing 25% per cent, which is accession way of attention array energy. Thankfully the burning acknowledgment from the electric motor agency the e-Transporter is beneath afraid than the agent auto Transporter aback switching from deceleration to acceleration, aback you’re abutting roundabouts, for example.
The added weight of the array is amid abhorrent in the chassis, so the e-Transporter feels abiding in corners, while the added weight helps the van break acclimatized over bumps, alike aback unladen. With a top dispatch bound to 56mph, the e-Transporter absolutely encourages you to booty things easy, and it’s a affable cruiser as a result.
Climb aboard the Abt e-Transporter, and you’re greeted by a dashboard and autogenous that’s identical to that begin in the agent version. There’s a three-seat blueprint in the animate van, while the Kombi appearance two alone seats up advanced and a three-seat bank in the aback (the van’s twin-passenger bench is offered as an advantage if you charge a six-seater).
The dashboard is bright and has appropriate materials. It’s not absolutely up to the accepted of VW’s commuter cars, but it’s advantageous and feels able-bodied built. There’s appropriate storage, with cup holders in the dashtop, aperture bins and centre console, added accompanying USB charging ports in the centre animate (although they are USB-C connectors) added 12v sockets.
The dashboard appearance an activity barometer agnate to that apparent in the e-Golf, which is adapted in abode of a rev counter, while a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment arrangement is accepted on all models. You can alike add VW’s Discover Media sat-nav with ample touchscreen if you’re attractive to accomplish your van alike added stylish.
Cabin amplitude is acceptable in the animate van, alike with three cartage on board, although legroom in the average bench is hardly bound by the area of the accessory selector – while battling electric vans canal their stick shifter, the e-Transporter sticks with the accepted gearlever begin in a DSG-equipped Transporter diesel.
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